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Making a Difference

Identifying Precious Places in New Canaan

LOCAL LANDOWNERS BECOME EMPOWERED

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies graduate students, Anya Powers and Michael Storace wanted to apply their classroom learnings to real world conservation issues, and our Land Trust had just the project. Identify New Canaan’s highest-priority conservation opportunities, based upon a natural resource analysis, and develop a compelling case for the current owners to protect their land.

LEARNING ALONG THE WAY

Anya and Michael quickly learned that building relationships and advising landowners are as important as collecting data and using sophisticated mapping software.

 “I realized the importance of discussing conservation with potential land donors,” explained Michael, “Our study provides the Land Trust with the necessary information to help landowners understand how conserving a parcel of land can benefit them and New Canaan.”

Anya was also amazed at the complexity ofland conservation in a suburban setting. “This project opened my eyes to the logistical challenges of land conservation. The imperative to protect New Canaan’s remaining open space inspired me to learn all I could about the legal and financial side of conservation to facilitate the project.”

“Individual families can make a huge difference in the future of what it means for clean water, wildlife habitat, local food, and places to connect with nature. It starts with a local family, every time.”

A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE

Our Land Trust is already using the results of Anya’s and Michael’s strategic conservation plan. Discussions with residents who own high-priority parcels have already begun, as we explore how conservation might be a possible option for those families.

Both Anya and Michael stressed the importance of working with the community. “While maps and data are helpful, relationships with people who have been there for generations, as well as newer residents, will make the difference,” Michael explained. “Conservation is a voluntary process. Individual families can make a huge difference in the future of what it means for clean water, wildlife habitat, local food, and places to connect with nature. It starts with a local family, every time.”